Berlinale Talent Campus Short Film
After endless years of the Liberian civil war, 17 year old Vele is struggling to make the future brighter for her and her two daughters – learning to read and write is the first step.
Germany 2012, 10 min
It is exactly twenty years since the celebrated Afro-American poet and writer Audre Lorde died in 1992. According to her own description of herself she was: ‘a lesbian, a feminist, black, a poet, mother and activist’. In the 1980s Dagmar Schultz, who at the time was lecturing at the John F. Kennedy Institute at Berlin’s Freie Universität, invited Lorde to Berlin as a visiting professor. This move was to have an enduring influence, for Lorde soon became co-founder and mentor of the Afro-German movement. In her documentary portrait, Dagmar Schultz distils hitherto unpublished and often very personal material of Lorde that portrays her among her Berlin women friends, fellow-travellers and students, many of whom she encouraged to begin writing. These women were later to become poets and academics; they were the ones to create the first German-language works about Afro-German history and racism. The film includes appearances from, among others: May Ayim, Katharina Oguntoye, Gloria I. Joseph, Ilona Bubeck, Traude Bührmann, as well as Ika Hügel-Marshall and Ria Cheatom, both of whom collaborated on the making of this film.
Germany 2011, 84 min
Chocó is twenty-seven years old; she has two children, a tiny wooden hut on the edge of a Columbian village, an underpaid job in a gold mine and a marimba-playing husband named Everlides, who gambles away the little money they have and forces himself onto her at night when he’s had too much to drink. Nonetheless she truly believes that things will get better. But then she loses her job, her daughter wants her birthday cake and Everlides spends the last of their savings. Chocó finds herself standing in the village shop she passes every day and in front of which Everlides drinks away all their money and loses at dominoes. She looks at the colourful cakes on the counter. You won’t get anything for nothing here, the fat shopkeeper reminds her. If you want a cake, I want you.
CHOCÓ is South American producer and screenwriter Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza’s directorial debut. In quiet, low-key shots that casually capture the landscape of Columbia, he demonstrates how sometimes there’s barely breathing room between hope and despair.
Colombia 2011, 80 min
Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza
The shoes of African refugees are washed up onto a beach. Then Betty comes into view; she too has arrived in Europe by sea. Her journey as an illegal immigrant takes her across a Europe in transition. She meets people who are rising up against the system, joins their solidarity marches and demonstrations and becomes a witness of the Occupy movement, impoverished illegal immigrants, the dissatisfaction of a younger generation and a society in turmoil. A mixture of dramatised scenes and real-life events are used to portray Betty’s journey to the heart of today’s zeitgeist.
Stéphane Hessel’s bestselling essay Time for Outrage! which has been an inspiration to many of the protagonists of this pan-generational movement, steers us through Tony Gatlif’s film. Betty marches alongside heaving masses through a Europe caught between hope and despair; she hears their wake-up call and the sound of a new song. Images of flyers fluttering down from the skies as well as iridescent flamenco dancers are among the many colourful scenes that convey a powerful impression of the strength of these protests.
France 2011, 88 min
Wolof, French, Greek, Spanish
Isabel Vendrell Cortès
A civil war in Africa. After her village is burned down by rebels and her parents are killed, Komona is forced into the jungle as a child soldier. Her brutal commander not only trains her in the use of arms but also orders her to sleep with him. Searching for shelter amidst the horror, she turns to a slightly older boy with white hair who she calls ‘Magician’ and falls in love with. After they escape from the camp together, Komona does her utmost to return to her village. She wants to bury her parents to prevent them having to eternally wander the wasted land as ghosts …
Told throughout from the perspective of an adolescent girl, the film – shot in authentic locations in Congo and cast mainly with non-professional actors – visualises the horrors of civil war and the suffering of children and civilians. Realistic images are interspersed with dream sequences which are rooted in African legends and which resonate with infinite grief about hardship and misery. Despite all the horrors she encounters, Komona proves to be a beacon of hope for a continent yearning for peace and humanity.
Canada 2012, 90 min